The Edit

Nothing much to add today either. I have been immersed in project work, which is going well. And some editing on a secondary project, which has also been fun. Actually, I found one of Those Typos yesterday – you know, the ones that completely change a document and turn it into something completely devastating to the customer, and fixing it validates my entire existence? Yeah, one of those. Pity I can’t say more. So secret!

I’m also starting editing work on Bonshoon. At least the stuff I found, I am beginning to work my way through. The rest of my editorial team will catch up when they are able.

Character representation in "Bonshoon"

What can I say? Glomulus Cratch is a funny guy.

Out of interest, here was how the breakdown of characters went. Yes, it is heavy on Zeegon and Glomulus, since it tells a lot about their back-stories and assorted quirks. Please note that this chart only includes the main ten characters. Maybe there are others who get chapters!

Okay, back to it.

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Thursday already!

I guess you know by now that when I put the name of the day in my blog title, nothing much is going to happen that day. Maybe sometime I will surprise you with that little assumption, but not today my friends. Not today.

No, bit of a non-event day today. I sat down and watched Cube 2: Hypercube last night, but didn’t really hear any of the dialogue (if that mattered) and the effects and actors couldn’t carry it on their own. I think it was reasonably cool as a concept, but all in all there were a couple of Doctor Who episodes that did it better. Plus it seemed to have been given 1 star by Netflix viewers, and those guys aren’t picky.

Otherwise, not a lot going on. Collecting editorial comments and waiting for my next cover drafts. Working on my actual paid project work, which is actually quite amusing in a hysterical sort of way but obviously I can’t talk about it.

Oh well. In the meantime, check this out for a laugh.

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Dream time again

Early this morning I dreamed that our customer had changed the site of their office. It was a nice new place, in a sort of a forest setting and with plenty of wood architecture, somewhere between a bungalow and a sauna.

The only problem was that a particularly overzealous and pointless security guard had installed retina scanners at the main entrances. I remember thinking in exasperation, if there’s no rule, a Finnish bureaucrat will make up a rule and then follow it. Anyway, I had no retina profile on record, so the dude (who was just letting himself in ahead of me) said I couldn’t come in.

Well, I had work to do so I went along the verandah at the front of the building, climbed over this little dividing counter type thing like a mini-wall, and found a wide-open side door. I strolled on in. Found my way to my desk – there were lots of people, at a long set of desks in an open floor plan, and each workstation had a name on a sticky note. Mine said HINDLER, which is a standard misspelling and makes me sound excitingly Nazi.

I mentioned the retina scanner to the managers, who said it was annoying and nobody had authorised it, and now the security guard was going nuts with the enforcement. Apparently another group of externals had run into trouble, so I promised to go out and bust them in through the same side-door I’d used.

When I found them, no doubt due to conversations yesterday, they turned out to be three of the guys from The Big Bang Theory. And they’d been caught trying to break in, and had been stripped naked and either dunked in cold water or flat-out waterboarded. Rogue security bozo was really going with it.

Anyway, I just got them to the side-door and the security guy was coming our way, when my alarm clock went and now I have to go to work.

Let me just check I have my key.

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Old Style Office Tuesday

I’m spending the day at the office today, instead of hanging out in my home office. The fact that this is blogworthy should tell you how rare it … no, never mind. The truth is, it’s not really blogworthy. There just wasn’t much else happening today and what with the commute and a mess of other stuff that needs doing, I didn’t have any time to sit and write today.

Also, nothing much to write about. dreameling and I were just told that sitting in an office with us was like being inside an episode of The Big Bang Theory, though. That’s got to count for something. What I have seen of that show, in snippet-form on YouTube, is pretty amusing.

I may be starting to get back into blogging for the company, too, which would be good. Some of my posts may actually make it onto the public site, but don’t go holding your breath for that. It’s amazing the red tape involved in just posting a blog entry. In the meantime, it’s nice to get back into the office and catch up with the, uh, three or four people left.

Ugh, just depressed myself.

Oh well. Back to work.

I also just realised it’s Tuesday, not Monday. Hey, I’m busy!

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The Sour Grapes of Wrath

The following is a fairly random and pointless rant that, as I continued with it, I came to recognise not as a specific and solid complaint, so much as something I needed to work out of my system in order to realise I didn’t have any specific problem and I wasn’t all that mad after all. Consider it a controlled venting, but since I am on hiatus right now I might as well post it in order to keep my blogging muscles trim.

A couple of disclaimers for this one:

No, in this blog entry I am not referring to the books written by my esteemed peer Lucas Thorn. While I do (snobbily, arrogantly, shamefully) consider my work to be more technically proficient, this is purely a matter of me working in the field of spelling and grammar editing and language validation, and being a nitpicker about that sort of thing. Anything stylistic is purely a matter of opinion. And indeed, any complaining I might be tempted to do about his phrasing and typos … well, I think Edpool has that covered in his complaints over how few of his editorial suggestions ended up being implemented. Bless this horrible little sinewy mass of directionless aggression (Thorn, that is, not Edpool – Edpool is not sinewy), and read his books.

And don’t worry, I’m not talking about Mr. Bloom’s writing either. As a matter of fact, while I have purchased Helsinki Noir, I have yet to read it since it has momentarily vanished into Mrs. Hatboy’s book-restoration-and-tagging system. I always look forward to seeing his new stuff.

So, this being said, I have an unhappy confession to make. And that, unsurprisingly, is that I am a snob. I am a great big flabby snob with rather too high an opinion of myself and my skill (please note I am talking skill here, not talent – there is a difference).

When I encounter a story that is badly-written, difficult to read or otherwise crummy, I get more offended than I should be by it. Sometimes, it flat-out outrages me.

And it’s not necessarily just because it has found an agent, publisher, marketer and audience. I’ve made my opinion on the submitting-and-acceptance game already, so I relinquish any claim to competitiveness or envy over authors who take that path. And we are all aware at this point that even a worldwide bestseller with massive following and movie adaptation can still be horribly-written and full of ideas that are bad, unoriginal, or both[1]. It can be a matter of being frustrated that this inferior author had better luck than I did, but it’s really not that. These days, the whole idea of landing a publishing contract and making the big bucks … well, it’s a classic fairy tale, isn’t it? You might go into music daydreaming of being the next Elvis, or directing with hopes of being the next Scorsese, but you’re only setting yourself up for disappointment the first three or four hundred times you fall on your face.

[1] Yes, those links led to my own books. What, did you think I was going to give free advertising and link-cred to some actual piece of shit?

No, sometimes it can be a book from my humble independent author end of the pool. It still represents a story that someone thought they should tell and then release to the public, and it grates on me in a very personal way when they evidently also decided that it wasn’t worth actually putting any effort into writing it well. Ooh, especially when it’s hogging my genre and getting more reviews and – okay, usually worse reviews, but those reviews still amount to visibility. Sure, I’m happy to admit that’s just sour grapes. We authors are all in this together and I don’t actually begrudge them their sales … but could they just have some more pride in their stories? Please?

And I know, by a similar rationale I should like these books, because they’re the work of my peers and I should respect them. And the quality of their work really has no bearing on mine. If anything, isn’t a lot of bad writing going to make mine seem even better in comparison?

Maybe.

And in a lot of cases you have to say “okay, this person just isn’t very technically skilled, they clearly love to write and they’re churning out these books and just flinging them out there in sheer joy, good for them and I salute their bravery and their sharing spirit.” There are whole genres of writing dedicated to this sort of stuff. It’s not bad in and of itself. The thing is, most of the time actual publishers won’t touch this stuff with a fifty-foot pole, so they have to go through independent presses if they want their beloved stories out there. Heck, I’m entirely happy to be classified under this category myself, as long as I get a little credence for also being able to write coherently. Professional pride.

It is quite the opposite, indeed, when I encounter a story that is so damn good, and so damn well-written, that it makes me envious[2]. It makes me wish I had come up with an idea that cool, that I could write stories that engaging, characters that brilliant. And I’ll rave about those stories, and try to get as many of my friends to read them as possible. That’s the sort of envy I’m happy to live with. When those sorts of books get picked up by publishers, I feel it restores the cosmic balance. And when they appear out of nowhere on the independent presses, it is amazing. I just can’t accept that this feeling of mine is pure why-are-these-crummy-books-selling-better-than-my-crummy-books sour grapes. I hope I’m more fair than that.

[2] No, those aren’t mine. I’m not completely tacky.

So okay, maybe the independent authors get a pass on this. Guidelines are less strict (although Amazon and assorted presses still put some stock – sometimes ridiculous stock – in technical correctness) and if you are a passionate but perhaps slightly-less-skilled writer this is a good alternative to just being crushed by rejection letter after rejection letter. You want to write a story? Do it. We live in the future, you know. It’s never been so easy to get your book out there in an assortment of formats. And nothing[3] will ever compare to that moment when you open the post-package and pull out the book you wrote.

[3] Okay, quite a lot of things will compare to it. But it’s a fucking brilliant feeling, anyway. That’s my point.

Independent authors get a pass. But when an actual publishing company decides to throw its resources behind a badly-written piece of crap, it riles me up. Because 99% of the time, it’s going to be about a gimmick. It’s going to be about the publishers making money because two million idiots are going to buy the book, and then twenty million idiots are going to follow the “TWO MILLION COPIES SOLD!” hype.

And heck, can I even argue with that? Twenty-two million idiots can’t be wrong.

Oh wait. Yes they can.

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Some Sunday in March

Lazy, lazy weekend going on, some strolls in the forest and sitting around the house with some lingering traces of stomach upset. Watching movies, and some Star Trek with Wump. Dealing with Toop’s crabby moods. Not working on anything much. Still recovering.

Editing work is underway on Bonshoon. Found a few typos myself, but haven’t been actively updating. Still need to get the last copy out to my US editing division.

And yeah, sat down to a bunch of really dumb movies.

Facebook reviews.

Oh, the ludicrous movies we have seen.

Yeah, we just watched a movie called Season of the Witch, where Nicholas Cage promised a woman accused of witchcraft a fair trial in the 14th Century. It was … glorious.

That is all.

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Wooo-oo-oooo-ow

So, yeah. It’s the weekend and I don’t have anything much to add for today, but I stumbled onto this little movie on Cracked and I thought it was interesting. Worth a watch.

I still like the movie but it always did seem strange to me that the bad guys, or at least some of them, did seem to be smarter and more civil-liberties-minded than the Fascist-esque government officials as championed by Malloy of the hilariously precious sports car. Only Larkin exists to offer a modern, human take on what it is to be an authority figure, and he ends up reaching a tentative sort of trust with Poe.

Still, seemed weird to me. Why were those particular traits selected to make these convicts “the worst of the worst”, and why was Poe made into the special case?

Of course Larkin’s line at the start of the movie, about looking at a society by examining its prisoners, was intended to drive this point home all along. I had always taken this “quote” as a sign of modern conservative culture letting these people down, though, and turning them into villains. It all gets rather confusing when they use the line to defend Poe’s convict status while at the same time the assorted other cultural tropes are left high and dry as clear bad guys.

And don’t get me wrong, Johnny-23 and Billy Bedlam and Garland Greene are all pretty clear-cut wackos, and Cyrus ‘The Virus’ Grissom is clearly aiming for a Lecter-style blend of madness and charisma. But given the facets of modern Western culture they represent, their gratuitous destruction[1] at the hands of wholesome ex-military good ole boy Poe does start to seem … well, a little gratuitous.

[1] Except Garland. Bless.

I guess I was always left wondering whether they had been given facets of modern thinking and attitudes in order to make them more relatable and charming, just to make them into characters. And just what it meant for the viewers who did see those attitudes and think “yeah, The Virus really has a point there.”

But the idea that they had been created as anti-conservative tropes for the war hero to systematically destroy on his way back to Freedom and Family and Cherry Pie … yeah, that was interesting.

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